Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 14 November 1791

To George Washington

The Secretary of state, to whom has been referred by the President of the United States, the Report of the proceedings in the Executive department of the North Western territory, for the month of July 1791. made by the Secretary of the said territory, thereupon

That the letter of July 12. 1791. therein entered, having been already communicated to the legislature of the United states, there is nothing else in the said Report which requires any thing to be done on the part of the President of the United States.

Th: Jefferson
Nov. 14. 1791.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); signature and date clipped off. PrC (DLC); includes signature and date in TJ’s hand; on verso in clerk’s hand: “Recorded and Examined.” Tr (DNA: RG 59, SDC). FC (DNA: RG 59, SDR). Not recorded in SJL, but under 14 Nov. 1791 in SJPL TJ recorded four reports sent to the President:

“Report Th:J. on Petition of William How. indemnification from England.

do. Charles Colvill. refund ransom.
do. Mangnall. Dover cutter.
do. on proceedings of Executive of N.W. territory.”

The report of the proceedings was sent by Lear to TJ, 14 Nov. 1791 (RC in DLC; endorsed by TJ as received the same day). Lear had sent TJ a letter from the Secretary of the territory and the records of the governor on 9 Nov. 1791 (PrC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; FC in DNA: RG 59, SDC).

Winthrop Sargent transmitted a copy of the executive proceedings of Governor Arthur St. Clair in the Northwest Territory for the month of July 1791 with a covering letter to President Washington, dated 1 Aug. 1791, in which he explained that he had decided not to wait until the end of the year to forward this segment of the executive record so as to avoid “detaining it beyond the next Sessions of Congress, when some Questions and Applications upon the Subject of Lands in this Country may make a reference thereto, proper and necessary” (Carter, Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States, Washington, 1934–1962, 26 vols. description ends , ii, 348–9). The July records dealt extensively with St. Clair’s opposition to Judge John Cleves Symmes’ efforts to settle land beyond the eastern boundaries of his patent in the Ohio country, a subject that was obviously germane to TJ’s 8 Nov. 1791 Report on Public Lands, and included as well the text of the 12 July 1791 letter from St. Clair to Symmes alluded to by TJ in the present report (same, iii, 349–52). TJ had already persuaded Washington to submit the issue of Symmes’ disputed boundary to Congress (TJ to Washington, 10 Nov. 1791).

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